Thursday, September 02, 2010

                                                        Here in the Midwest
There's Still Time
We've been lucky here in the central U.S. inasmuch as it has been warm and the great lakes have been unusually warm. This has made for fine paddling and, I am sad to say, for a host of missed opportunities. There are so many of us that just don't practice our rescue techniques or work our rolls in anything other than flat conditions. The excuse around here is often that the water is too cold and I don't have a dry suit.

Well, no one needed anything but a birthday suit to get into Lakes Michigan and Superior this summer. The warm water has been an opportunity to practice rescue scenarios and to work on sculling, braces and rolls. How many, I wonder, actually used the opportunity? Well, if you live around here and you haven't, there is still time. Get out there and get in there, in a safe way.

If you are comfy in level conditions 2, get out there in conditions 3 with someone comfy in conditions 4. Get out of your boat, lead a complicated rescue scenario under the supervision of a capable paddler/instructor. Ask someone to stand in the water and help you with your roll, it is still warm enough.

All too soon the water will be cooling off and stay that way until next spring or summer. During the winter, it is unlikely that folks who won't get into the warm water will get into the cold water. At least, not on purpose. If anything, they will be in crowded swimming pools where only conditions 0-1 prevail. Getting out there and in there now just might get you the skills you are going to dearly want when you end up in the cold stuff. You don't paddle in winter? All the more reason to stock up on skills right now.

Paddle safe...

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